Minivans are boring, right? Wrong. Some manufacturers are finding ways to make them bold, cool and fast—or just fascinatingly weird.
You may remember last year’s Ford Pro Electric SuperVan, an ultra-high-performance van concept that was developed in secret by Ford Performance and the electrified rally and racing specialists at STARD in Austria. This one-of-a-kind EV boasted 1,973 horsepower and 0-100 km/h acceleration in less than two seconds. Seriously.
Well, the Blue Oval is back this week with the new SuperVan 4.2, which will compete in Colorado’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday with the event’s record holder, Romain Dumas, behind the wheel.
This wildly modified E-Transit stuns with revised aerodynamics including a gigantic carbon fibre rear wing. It’s the ultimate extension of a truncated rear body, one that can generate more than 4,400 pounds of downforce at a speed of 240 km/h.
The chassis of the SuperVan 4.2 underwent a weight reduction to improve overall balance and provide agility through the twists of the famous mountain road. While the number of e-motors is reduced from four to three, again to save weight, total output still amounts to over 1,400 horsepower. Meanwhile, the battery's new 600 kW regeneration performance allows for optimal energy utilization.
Speaking of which, the revised regenerative braking system uses carbon ceramic brake discs. Elsewhere, the magnesium forged wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero race tires.
We can’t wait to see how Ford’s SuperVan 4.2 performs at Pikes Peak!
Japanese Love Huge Grilles
Over in Japan, Toyota is introducing its new Alphard and Vellfire minivans. Similar to the Lexus LM, these models capture the imagination with in-your-face styling including huge, boldly styled grilles and eye-catching, Z-shaped beltlines.
It seems Japanese customers are fond of the design. Toyota expects to sell 8,500 units a month in its domestic market. The minivans can not only be purchased but also temporarily owned through the KINTO subscription service.
Their interiors can accommodate six people in a 2+2+2 configuration. Owners will have the ability to park the vehicle remotely by using a smartphone app. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants will be available, but the most potent option under the hood is a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine (shared with our Toyota Highlander) that produces 275 horsepower.
Still think the bullet train-inspired Sienna looks strange?